So as a new pet parent I obviously have questions all the time about my pup. She'll be 12 weeks on Friday Sorry if this ends up on the longer side...
1. As I mentioned she's about to be 12 weeks.. but she cannot weight more than maybe 15 pounds. That doesn't sound normal for a Lab?? She looks kind of on the underfed side--you can barely see her ribs, its not too horrible but you can see them. Which leads me to my next question...
2. She refuses to eat. It's not like a new development, but even though she's grown, she still eats the same amount as when I first got her, sometimes even slightly less. She eats maybe half a cup three times a day, for a total of a cup and a half a day. Sometimes she won't even finish the serving. I'm starting to get concerned--she's on the smaller side already and I have a feeling it's because of this. I don't know what else to do. Although, today I noticed if I threw a few pieces of kibble on the floor of her crate she'd eat it, but wouldn't out of her bowl--this worked for a few bites, but then stopped altogether. She was originally on Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy, but her vet told me to switch her to Innova Large Breed Puppy (which I did gradually). No idea what she was on before I got her. Maybe she doesn't like either kibble? She's not having anything to suggest she's allergic to either one.
3. When she does eat, she refuses to eat dry kibble alone... unless it's out of her Kong. What I've been doing is wetting her kibble just a little bit with chicken broth, I've been trying to wean her off but she can tell even if I put a drop less and she won't eat any of it. Should I just start feeding her out of her Kong? Lol I'm just worried she's malnourished.
4. Okay, so at about 10 weeks one morning all of her sudden one of her ears flopped weird, not the typical way a Lab's ears do. And about 2 days ago her other ear did it too. Armed with Google, I've found out she's developed "rose prick ears". I also saw somewhere else it's because she's teething? Is this normal, or should I be concerned? I don't see any signs of drainage from her ears, nor do they smell. She just looks goofy now
5. Per the suggestion of another member, I got her a leash. So, how can I teach her to walk on a leash? She just wants to take off and I'm scared she'll hurt herself. She's on a harness, and when she realizes she's leashed you can literally see it in her eyes she's trying to figure out how to wiggle out of her harness.
6. Is there really such a thing as an alpha dog? I know it sounds silly, but she can be demanding at times... more than just because of her age. She paws to demand your attention, she doesn't listen to taught commands when others are present (she does when it's just her and me), she growls if you don't do/give her what she wants. She has this stance where if I'm sitting with her and I get up (to get a drink for example), she'll sit up puffing her chest out staring at me ears half up until I come sit back down. And she has to get thru any door we go thru in front of me. Could these be signs she's an alpha dog? If so, is there anything I can do to curb this? Or is this normal puppy behavior? I don't know, she seems to be a little too headstrong/stubborn for it to be just that.
7. She's being crate trained. I was told if I put a blanket over the crate it can help give it more of that den feeling for her. However, if I do put a blanket over it, she gets up in the middle of the night to pee and does so in her crate... then I guess paws/bites through the crate and yanks the blanket down on top of where she peed. What do I do? Should I try some of that no-chew stuff?
Again, sorry this is so long, but I just have so many questions!
Thanks again for your help
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wetting kibbles, I would add about enough water to cover them and let it sit for a few moment. I am not sure why the vet suggested changing foods. If she ate more of the old stuff, I would put her back on the BB. I actually don't like either brand, and always feed my pups Pro Plan puppy, but it's not good to keep changing food. I would go back to what the breeder fed.
If she is getting up in the middle of the night and peeing in her crate, the crate is probably too big. Most puppies at that age are pretty good at getting through the night dry. What time is her last pee break for the day? Are you letting her out in the middle of the night at all? What time is she out again in the morning? If she frequently has accidents in the crate, then it's not doing the job of helping with potty training.
What are you using to clean the pee accidents in the crate?
Lastly - I am not going to get into this too much, but please flush all that stuff about alpha behavior and dominance out of your mind. It is extremely outdated science. It is MUCH better to read and learn current animal behavior thinking. Please read "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia McConnell. Dogs need humans to be thinking, compassionate leaders - not dominating bullies. (I'm not saying you personally are bullying your puppy, but that famous trainer everyone is parroting certainly does)
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
I would keep her on what the breeder had her if I knew what it was. I didn't get her from a reputable breeder to say the least, nor was she rescued, but I'm glad I got her--she probably wouldn't have made it this far if I didn't. She wasn't in great shape when I did. I put her on the BB when I first got her, but the vet recommended to switch her to Innova, Science Diet, or any other that was tested over formulated (in regards to the AAFCO nutritional statement).
And what I meant was she only does it if I put a blanket over her crate. If I don't put a blanket at all, she'll hold it thru the night. That's the weird part!
But, in any case, her last pee break for the day is at 12 - 12:30 am. Sometimes she'll wake me up at around 4am for another potty break, but more often than not she'll wait until 7:30-8am when it's her first potty.
Thanks guys! Keep it coming!
Don't put a blanket on the crate! If the only time she pees in her crate is when there is a blanket on it it is very easy to solve the problem. I agree that changing her food again is a bad idea, I definitely would NOT go back to BB. 15lbs may seem on the smaller side for her age but not worrisome. Since you got her from a questionable source perhaps she didn't have the best nutrition, she maybe was the runt, she may not be full Lab or who knows. If your vet is happy with her growth I wouldn't be concerned. Maxx was eating 3 cups a day at that age, if the only way you can get her to eat is to add a little bit of chicken broth I would do so. Just make sure it is salt free. I would also use chicken or cheese for training treats to add extra calories. As for the "alpha" nonsense, please forget you ever heard of this. Patricia McConnell's book is wonderful and a definite must read for new puppy owners. Enjoy your puppy, she won't be little for long!
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
i'd stop switching the food and making an issue out of it. perhaps she's not that hungry of a pup which at any moment can change her into a bear . what does the vet say-does he feel she's too skinny?what did her parents look like, were they on the smaller side?
wetting the food is ok but make sure, if you use broth instead of water (which btw is ok to do) it is unsalted.
if you dont know the size or ever saw her parents and the "breeder " is questionable, her ears may or may not change. are you sure that she' s a purebredlab or maybe just not a model speciman of what a lab should be.
leashes, i find, cause less pulling than a harness. practice, even if tethering her to you in the house, so she gets used to the idea of you holding a leash and her walking rather than her thinking of it as a chew toy or wahatever.
i'm thinking maybe , tho the crate may have too much room, maybe she needs an extra potting. not all dogs can hold it for the same amount of time at the same age.
how does she do int he house with her potty training.
and yes, nature's miracle washed down in the crate will help remove the scent that says "ok, pee time".
i also agree to forget about the dominant stuff right now, she's a young pup, testing you, and seemingly winning in regard to food. doing cartwheels to get her to eat, actually encourages that fussy behavior. i dont think she will starve herself to death. put it down, take it away after 20 minutes. could she possible need another meal, in between. i use kongs for a play thing, or in the crate when i leave for a moment (tho cant do it with vangie whol will power chew the kong itself.
also, is the crate in your room so you can hear her stir before she actually eliminates? labs like to be near their people and it would possible help you hear her before she does the dirty deed.
good luck, keep the questions coming, and i'm sure you will have a nice little pup before too long. there are also some easy , good books you might want to look into, when you go in the pet store .
It's actually GOOD for the dog to wet the kibble for the life of the dog. There is no benefit to feeding dry kibble. Think about it, would you want to eat Cheerios with no milk for your entire life? Add some warm water to get the kibbles a little soft, bring out the aroma...when the dog is older you can consider adding healthy toppers like veggies, fruit, leftover meat.
Most foods on the market are OK according to AAFCO. The ONLY advice I would take from a vet about food is if they are telling me to feed what they feed their SIMILAR dogs. Otherwise, let it be known that most vets do not take nutrion courses in vet school.